Welcome to this week’s Mid Week Tease. Usually, I spotlight my own writing here, but today I’d like to cede my spot to my good friend and fellow author, Melinda De Ross. Melinda is also the person who designs some of my book covers. Classy Designs made the covers for The Captain’s Promise, Holiday Magic, The Perfect Choice, and The Price of Honor.
Thanks to Sandra Bunino for the opportunity to share Melinda’s work with you this morning.
About Mirage Beyond Flames:
Gerard Leon and Linda Coriola fight for the same cause. The attractive, noble, dedicated French doctor and the beautiful, sensitive Italian sculptress both donate their time and money to Hope – a clinic for children’s cancer research and treatment.
From the moment they meet, even the air between them crackles with intense attraction. But her past makes it difficult for Gerard to understand her scars and battle with her demons.
In search of a cure for cancer and armed with an innovative treatment themselves, they leave for Transylvania, that enigmatic land hidden in the heart of the Carpathians.
There they get lost and have a bizarre experience in the Hoia-Baciu forest, nicknamed The Romanian Bermuda Triangle due to all the inexplicable paranormal phenomena happening in its depths.
But no one believes them, because they don’t have any proof of said experience. Or do they?…
Linda had learned to cook from an early age. She used to spend hours watching enthralled as Sofia—their cook—prepared sumptuous meals for the Coriola family, which back then was still intact.
Sofia was a well-rounded woman with ever-rosy cheeks and gray hair, which she always covered with colorful scarves. When Linda had asked the woman to teach her a few simple recipes, Sofia had been delighted with the little girl’s passion for gastronomy. She’d immediately taken her under her wing, teaching her the art of becoming a domestic goddess, as she used to say. And so, in a few years, Linda—who was already in her teens—had gained the experience of a high-class chef.
At the moment however, it seemed all her culinary knowledge had left her. She’d hired Mrs. Adams to cook for her so she could dedicate her time to sculpting and not bother with domestic stuff. Now she got the impression she’d lost her touch.
She lined up precisely on the counter all the ingredients she needed, then sat on a chair next to Pirata, who watched the preparations curiously.
For a few long minutes they both sat, staring at the spaghetti, spices, mushrooms, cheese and ham, all arranged in military fashion. The cat’s gaze was lustful, his nose and whiskers twitching with interest. By contrast, Linda’s gaze reflected a shadow of something resembling desperation.
Eventually, with a deep, resigned sigh, she stood and got to work. The Spaghetti Carbonara was her favorite dish and was quite simple to prepare.
Working efficiently, without conscious effort, carried by the rhythm that had never truly left her, she started an animated discussion with Pirata.
“I don’t know what I was thinking, inviting him for dinner,” she told the cat, barely noticing that he’d just slid a paw on the counter to steal yet another piece of ham. “I mean, look at me.” She gesticulated with the knife she used for cutting mushrooms. “Instead of minding my business, I’m cooking for a guy. And I don’t even know if he’ll like this. As a matter of fact, I know very well why he’s coming to dinner. He’s only interested in the dessert.”
Remembering the way he’d kissed her the night before, of how incredibly sexy he looked sitting at his desk—unshaven, his shirt nearly unbuttoned—she became aware of her own need and desperate craving for that kind of decadent dessert.
Ignoring for a moment the fantastic way he was built, she had to admit he was a special man. Noble, that’s how she’d called him, and meant it.
“Why do I have to complicate stuff?” she demanded again of Pirata, who was washing his paws, satiated. “I’m just going to live the moment, not sit around analyzing every little thing. Giovanni was right. Not all men are a pain in the ass. Some of them are worth the trouble, right?”
At the end of this one-sided conversation, during which she had been moving like a robot, she was amazed to discover the meal was almost ready. She made the final touches, then consulted her watch and exclaimed in panic, “It’s a quarter to eight! Gerard has to be here at eight sharp!”
She scrambled toward the door and ran upstairs to her bedroom, under the cat’s placid gaze.
She quickly applied some basic makeup. After that, she pulled on a white backless dress that reached her knees, splendid in its simplicity and elegance.
Her only jewelry was the ring she never took off and a pair of delicate pearl earrings.
Precisely as she descended the stairs, she heard the intercom’s buzz. She pressed the button to unlock the gate and opened the front door, in time to see a black Jeep advancing on her driveway.
Gerard parked in front of the garage, before climbing out of his car. He walked around and opened the passenger door, revealing an enormous bouquet of flowers. He removed it from the seat, then headed toward her. He wore midnight blue pants and a white shirt, open at the neck. The white cotton created a delicious contrast to his tanned chest, sprinkled with dark-gold hair. She felt her entire body reacting to his presence like a metallic splinter attracted to a powerful magnet.
When he reached her, she noticed he’d shaven.
My God, he is completely magnificent! she thought, while his intense green eyes drilled into hers, as if he intuited all her thoughts and sensations.
He handed her the bouquet—a combination of white roses and white lilac, spreading a divine scent. He took in her white dress, the thin material that flowed down her body, subtly emphasizing every curve.
“I can see I chose the flowers very well. They perfectly match you and your attire. You look magnificent,” he said, bending to kiss her cheek.
She turned her head involuntarily and his warm, soft lips touched the corner of her mouth. Entranced by his nearness and by his dizzying perfume, she turned her head another fraction. Their mouths touched in a kiss that would have been as chaste as the white flowers between them, if not for the explosive sensuality crackling in the air. For several seconds they just stared at one another, in hypnotizing fascination.
I hope you enjoyed this peek at Mirage Beyond Flames. Want to read more:
Now, take time to visit the rest of this week’s teasers.